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Plant identification guides:
Bush tucker food forest

Information about medicinal qualities of plants, or about their use as medicines, is for interest only, and is not intended to be used as a guide for the treatment of medical conditions.


As with all medicinal applications of Australian bush foods, please do your due diligence and consult with First Nations or other Australian herbal specialists before utilising as a remedy for any condition.


Some parts of the plant may not be edible or some may need preparation before they are safe to eat or use in any way. We do our best to describe their traditional & modern uses. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure they are fit for their intended use.


We can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Yellow Kamala

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Mallotus discolor

Dyers' kamala, Rottlera, Kali Haritaki, Bhut-Vriksha (in Sanskrit)



Yellow Kamala

Basic info:

This is an Australian rainforest tree in the spurge family (same as Cassava and the Castor Oil plant).

This is a small tree, usually growing to 15 m, found in subtropical, dry and littoral rainforests, as well as softwood scrubs and riparian areas from the Clarence River in NSW as far north as Townsville. Several specimens, in rainforest, have been found 30 m tall, but this is unusual. Where the rainforest has been cleared, the tree may be seen as a remnant, or possible a regeneration, species.


It is known as the yellow kamala, due to the yellowish orange fruit covering, which produces a yellow dye.

The trunk is not buttressed, and attains a diameter of about 25 cm. The bark is a dull grey or brownish grey, and on older trees may have some cracks and scales; but usually it is fairly smooth. The branches are slender, green or brown with reddish hairy growth towards the end.

The leaves are simple, alternate, the blade green above, whitish to yellow and downy below, hence the species name discolor.

The fruit matures in January, being a moist capsule with a yellowish orange covering.

Uses and Interesting Information:

Yellow kamala produces a fruit which attracts birds with powerful long-distance flight capabilities.  

These birds bring seeds in their guts from far away – which then has an effect of establishing a diverse range of plants in the area around the tree. Trees such as the yellow kamala, therefore, act as ecological building blocks that can establish, maintain and increase the biodiversity of sites they are associated with.



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